The French government has selected MBDA to develop its Missile Haut de Trame/Missile Longue Portée (MHT/MLP – High Tier Missile/Long Range Missile) concept as the preferred solution for the Direction Générale de l’Armement’s (DGA’s – the French Procurement Agency’s) Future Tactical Air-Surface Missile (Missile Air-Surface Tactique Futur – MAST-F) programme.
The MHT/MLP will equip the French Army’s Mk III standard upgrade Airbus Helicopters EC665 Tigre/Tiger Mk3 standard attack helicopters, work on which is currently scheduled to begin in the 2023 timeframe, and replace the in-service Lockheed Martin AGM-114K1A/114N1A Hellfire II missile as the main guided air-to-surface weapon system on the French Tiger HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction).
The government’s decision derives, initially, from the outcome of a EUR1.657 million (USD2 million) study contract awarded to MBDA in October 2017 for a consolidated evaluation of three MBDA air-to-surface missile concept options – MHT/MLP, the European Modular Missile-Heavy (EMM-H), and Brimstone 3 – to demonstrate, through analyses and simulation, the performance parameters of each weapon concept against the operational requirements of the French Army. Follow-on sub-assembly risk reduction studies (datalink, propulsion, and integration of the missile with the Tiger platform), along with technology development support from the DGA, facilitated the preparation of the MHT/MLP programme for the MAST-F decision.
Announcing the MAST-F decision on 13 November, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly characterised the as yet un-developed MHT/MLP as ‘a near-infallible missile’ for the Tiger upgrade.
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